An interesting talk.
The Village Hall was quite full when Mrs Nash welcomed everyone to the April Meeting.
Unfortunately the May outing with Mr. Brian Draper to the Gloucestershire and Wiltshire Borders has had to be cancelled as Brian has foot cancer. The Society will send him a “Get Well” card and wish him a speedy recovery. The time of 1.45.p.m. is set for members to meet in the car park at Avoncroft Museum for the June outing on 30th. Mrs Nash then introduced Mr David Phillips, a former R.A.F. pilot, who would talk to us on “The story of Knickers”.
We had all expected Mr Phillips to come along with quite a few “samples”, but no, he was quite “bare” of any such “goodies”. Then followed a most interesting talk, strangely enough, mostly history through the ages. We all recalled seeing pictures of Roman Legionaries in what we thought were trousers under their tunics...apparently this was not so, they were in fact what we would call stockings just to keep them warm in our climate. The reason for this was that the materials were so rough in those days that, had they worn trousers which were in contact with the skin they would have caused friction and resulting in sores.
We then jumped to the 1600’s and a reference to the “Royal” portraits in London with special attention to the one of Henry V11, who is wearing a sort of “dressing gown outfit” which was the “relaxing” garment of the day.
Then on, of course, to Henry V111 who is always shown wearing a skirt with trousers and a cod piece. It was an interesting history lesson, learning that because ladies wore long dresses they did not wear undergarments and as the centuries passed crinolines came into fashion and eventually hoops were incorporated under the dresses. This was fine until the ladies knelt down for communion when “ all “ was revealed!
Gradually as women became more liberated and moved into what has been termed “Masculine” roles the need for underwear became a necessity. We also learned that the “Working Class Women” were the first to wear “bloomers” made of red flannel and that the “Upper Classes” thought that was quite disgusting! Mr Phillips gave us a wonderful insight into the little known facts of this part of history with glimpses of the French Revolution through to Mrs Bloomer from America and Florence Nightingale.
A member of the audience had brought along some samples of early “bloomers” which caused interest as well as a laugh. A most enjoyable evening.